ABT Fan

The ABT Dancer - Video release

45 posts in this topic

I saw this on James Whiteside's Twitter feed and it's posted on YouTube as well.

A nearly 3 minute video on what makes ABT's dancers special, and why having dancers from different schools is a good thing (something that has been debated frequently on Ballet Alert). Maybe I'm reading into it, but the clip feels a bit defensive with several dancers commenting on how their differences in training helps them to adapt to choreography and why the company's diversity is an asset as opposed to other companies who are more homogeneous (in training and background). Yes, diversity is absolutely an asset. But, my vibe is that this video was put out to help diminish some of the negative comments about the influx of guest artists and foreigners. Anyone else think so?

Now, if only the company would release videos of recent performances. But, maybe this little clip is a sign of more things to come.

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It's nice that ABT is finally starting to join the 21st century with this Youtube page, but they surely have to be kidding with the differences in training backgrounds being an asset. I thought the JKO school was the whole purpose in addressing their not uniform corp de ballet problems that has been talked about for years.

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It's nice that ABT is finally starting to join the 21st century with this Youtube page, but they surely have to be kidding with the differences in training backgrounds being an asset. I thought the JKO school was the whole purpose in addressing their not uniform corp de ballet problems that has been talked about for years.

You took the words right out of my mouth Plisskin. Never the less maybe this is a step in the right direction in term of promotion. NYCB, PNB & SFB all have web sights with lots of video. ABT is a dud in that respect.

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@ vipa

ABT, for the longest time, hasn't seemed to have understood the importance of media. That's 1 of this company's major problems. They've done promotional video's in the past, but they were hardly seen by anyone since they would make these ridiculous micro websites that could only be found via Google, instead of posting it on Youtube or some other popular video sharing site.

But, my vibe is that this video was put out to help diminish some of the negative comments about the influx of guest artists and foreigners.

I believe so. I think that is also why they had the NYT write an article about those 6 select Corp de ballet members. This season, I've seen way more professional reviews (and blogs) remark upon the excessive guest artists at ABT and not nurturing their own. It would be nice if McKenzie and co. would change this unspoken new policy (among other things) but I don't see it and the "melting pot of styles" hogwash going away until atleast a new AD is appointed.

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I watch very little televison, but I've seen numerous ads for ABT on TV here in NY City in recent weeks. I think they are still going "old school" with their approach to advertising, relying on print and TV ads instead of more updated approaches like videos on their website. After all, people who are visiting their website are already fans and are probably buying tickets already. They would not be reaching new customers that way.

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@ vipa

ABT, for the longest time, hasn't seemed to have understood the importance of media. That's 1 of this company's major problems. They've done promotional video's in the past, but they were hardly seen by anyone since they would make these ridiculous micro websites that could only be found via Google, instead of posting it on Youtube or some other popular video sharing site.

They also had the world's dullest and most useless app.

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They also would be wise to present live-to-cinema broadcasts seeing as how such presentations actually increases interest in attending performances in person.

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I'd be happy if the released a DVD now and then. It hasn't happened in years.

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I watch very little televison, but I've seen numerous ads for ABT on TV here in NY City in recent weeks. I think they are still going "old school" with their approach to advertising, relying on print and TV ads instead of more updated approaches like videos on their website.

This approach must cost a small fortune. I'm guessing the general drive toward online promotion was primarily an attempt to reduce massive advertising expenses.

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I'd be happy if the released a DVD now and then. It hasn't happened in years.

Me too. I think it is a shame that a full length ballet of Marcelo Gomes and his wonderful partnership with Vishenva has yet to be filmed by ABT. It took David Hallberg dancing w/ the Bolshoi to finally have a full recorded performance of him. In fact, I can barely find dancing footage of any of ABT's dancer's. One main reason why people know and love company's like the Bolshoi, Mariinsky, or Royal is the DVD's, online videos, and live web telecasts they broadcast worldwide. It garners interest for people to want to see them live when they can whom otherwise wouldn't have known a thing about those companies because they might not live in that area or even the country. It also puts a good spotlight on their company, style, and their dancers. ABT has so many wonderful dancers that, outside of America (heck NYC), nobody knows about or has seen dance. And it shouldn't be like that. ABT has had many dancers who should be having international acclaim like Hallberg, Vishneva, Osipova, etc. ABT doesn't seem to understand this.

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@ vipa

ABT, for the longest time, hasn't seemed to have understood the importance of media. That's 1 of this company's major problems. They've done promotional video's in the past, but they were hardly seen by anyone since they would make these ridiculous micro websites that could only be found via Google, instead of posting it on Youtube or some other popular video sharing site.

They also had the world's dullest and most useless app.

Interesting, but way back they had a much more robust web presence than many other companies -- weren't they the ones behind that online dictionary?

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Maybe they will do a DVD for their 75th Anniversary next season? Hopefully maybe a PBS Great Performances in honor of the anniversary?

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Thank you so much ABT Fan for posting this video. Maybe ABT is trying to address criticism about all the guest artist. But what the various dancers are saying has been the ABT company line for a long time. In the City Center performance dvd of 1998 (I think that's when it was filmed) Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie and various ABT dancers are saying the same things they're saying in this recent video. ABT has dancers from all over the world, we have many different kinds of training, we dancemany different kinds of ballet, etc., etc., etc.

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I've noticed that ABT dancers as a whole also tend to be quieter on social media than dancers from other companies. There are a few exceptions but as a rule they aren't on twitter/instagram as much. I wonder if this is company policy.

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What, again with the studio full of dancers doing pirouettes while a voiceover speaks earnestly about artistry and commitment?*

Sigh. It's a step in the right direction, I suppose, but given how many years we are into the age of digital media, it's hardly enough. I've seen more compelling pitches on Indiegogo and Kickstarter, for heaven's sake, and they're all being done on a shoestring.

What's the message? What's going on in that video that would make someone want to run to the theater and plunk down their hard-earned cash for a ticket? Anyone who already knows about the company's diversity in training and style is either a) rolling their eyes or b) charmed and / or chagrined by company's apparent determination to turn a presumed bug into an undocumented feature. Meanwhile, a newbie is thinking "Ballet has styles? Looks like they're all doing the same thing to me." So SHOW THEM. Brag about the diversity of your repertoire, then show a clip of, I don't know, some Tharp -- once on stage in full costume, then again in the studio in practice clothes. Do the same thing with one of the classics. Have one dancer say "Oh, l love to watch [fill in the name of dancer here] in [fill in the name of ballet here]! With his / her [fill in the name of school here] training he / she can really make those [fill in the steps here] explode!" Show said dancer doing said celebrated thing on stage looking like a god / goddess, then in the studio sweating like racehorse.

Come on, it's American Ballet THEATER. Get some theater into those videos.

*Note: I'm not knocking any of the participating dancers; they deserve a far, far better script.

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Unless ABT posts a video produced by S Spielberg and choreographed by A Ratmansky with Diana and Marcelo dancing, nobody will be happy.devil.gif

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What, again with the studio full of dancers doing pirouettes while a voiceover speaks earnestly about artistry and commitment?*

Sigh. It's a step in the right direction, I suppose, but given how many years we are into the age of digital media, it's hardly enough. I've seen more compelling pitches on Indiegogo and Kickstarter, for heaven's sake, and they're all being done on a shoestring.

What's the message? What's going on in that video that would make someone want to run to the theater and plunk down their hard-earned cash for a ticket? Anyone who already knows about the company's diversity in training and style is either a) rolling their eyes or b) charmed and / or chagrined by company's apparent determination to turn a presumed bug into an undocumented feature. Meanwhile, a newbie is thinking "Ballet has styles? Looks like they're all doing the same thing to me." So SHOW THEM. Brag about the diversity of your repertoire, then show a clip of, I don't know, some Tharp -- once on stage in full costume, then again in the studio in practice clothes. Do the same thing with one of the classics. Have one dancer say "Oh, l love to watch [fill in the name of dancer here] in [fill in the name of ballet here]! With his / her [fill in the name of school here] training he / she can really make those [fill in the steps here] explode!" Show said dancer doing said celebrated thing on stage looking like a god / goddess, then in the studio sweating like racehorse.

Come on, it's American Ballet THEATER. Get some theater into those videos.

*Note: I'm not knocking any of the participating dancers; they deserve a far, far better script.

Great ideas, Kathleen! Especially about how one shows "style".. You should be hired as ABT's Marketing/Promotional person! I'm guessing you could write that "script"!

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way back they had a much more robust web presence than many other companies -- weren't they the ones behind that online dictionary?

Oh, that's right, and it's still up. All you have to do to run across it on their site is to hit the little, faint blue Library tab, then hit the little Library tab on the bottom of the Library page, then hit the little Ballet Dictionary (not even Ballet Video Dictionary) on that page! speechless-smiley-003.gif

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Unless ABT posts a video produced by S Spielberg and choreographed by A Ratmansky with Diana and Marcelo dancing, nobody will be happy.devil.gif

Sounds like a great idea! Stranger things have happened. Who knows? Spielberg could be a ballet fan. ;)

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How about Wim Wenders who did such a wonderful job with "Pina"!

Generally speaking, though, I'd rather see the dancers express themselves by dancing rather than by talking to an off camera interviewer.

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How about Wim Wenders who did such a wonderful job with "Pina"!

Generally speaking, though, I'd rather see the dancers express themselves by dancing rather than by talking to an off camera interviewer.

Yes to both! Although ... the company needs to tap into talent that understands how telling a story on small screens in teeny-tiny episodes is different from holding an audience captive for two hours in a dark theater, and that's probably not a famous movie director from the last century. Me, if I had the bucks and they had the requisite curiosity and enthusiasm (like Wenders), I'd go for a TV showrunner like Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) or -- even better -- Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the very excellent and killed-all-too-soon Firefly) who was also a pioneer in the development of shows crafted explicitly for the web (Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog and Dollhouse). Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing demonstrated that he knows how to deal with "classic" material.

By "story" I don't mean something with a plot (we don't need another lurid backstage melodrama anymore than we need forty dancers in practice clothes doing pirouettes), but rather something with a clear point of view, a message, and an arc.

Edited to add: There no need to go for someone famous, by the way -- there's a lot of talent out there ...

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way back they had a much more robust web presence than many other companies -- weren't they the ones behind that online dictionary?

Oh, that's right, and it's still up. All you have to do to run across it on their site is to hit the little, faint blue Library tab, then hit the little Library tab on the bottom of the Library page, then hit the little Ballet Dictionary (not even Ballet Video Dictionary) on that page! speechless-smiley-003.gif

Seriously! Even I know enough about web design to spot that problem and fix it ... It was such a forward looking thing, and they let it rot behind a thicket of mouse-clicks. I don't even want to think about trying to find it and watch it on a smart phone. Make a damn app out of it and sell it for $0.99.

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way back they had a much more robust web presence than many other companies -- weren't they the ones behind that online dictionary?

Oh, that's right, and it's still up. All you have to do to run across it on their site is to hit the little, faint blue Library tab, then hit the little Library tab on the bottom of the Library page, then hit the little Ballet Dictionary (not even Ballet Video Dictionary) on that page! speechless-smiley-003.gif

Seriously! Even I know enough about web design to spot that problem and fix it ... It was such a forward looking thing, and they let it rot behind a thicket of mouse-clicks. I don't even want to think about trying to find it and watch it on a smart phone. Make a damn app out of it and sell it for $0.99.

Who was it that was responsible for that project in the first place? They were miles ahead of many other organizations with stuff like that...

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It was one of the corps de ballet... Tamara Barden if I'm remembering aright... And I believe it was done just out of good will toward the community, I doubt anyone was paid a cent for it. We are talking the very early days of the web when most people weren't on it yet. I don't believe Google even existed yet. There may not even have been spam yet. This website did not exist yet.

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